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First grizzly: the bears are waking up

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Town Crier “Briefs from the Region” (2) – 3/17/21

On March 13, a pilot supporting park wildlife studies spotted the first grizzly bear of 2021 in Yellowstone National Park. According to a March 16 National Park Service press release, the pilot watched the bear interact with wolves near a carcass in the northern part of the park. Although tracks have been seen on several occasions in the last two weeks, this is the first bear sighting. Males often emerge in March, while females and cubs come out later in April and May. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks warn recreationists in bear country to be bear aware with the following guidelines:

  • Carry and know how to use bear spray.
  • Travel in groups whenever possible and plan to be out in the daylight hours.
  • Stay on trails or rural roads.
  • Avoid carcass sites and concentrations of ravens and other scavengers.
  • Watch for signs of bears such as bear scat, diggings, torn-up logs and turned over rocks, and partly consumed animal carcasses.
  • Keep children and pets close.
  • Make noise, especially near streams or in thick forest where hearing and visibility is impaired. This can be the key to avoiding encounters. Most bears will avoid humans when they know humans are present.
  • Don’t approach a bear.

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